There is no exact date when the marshmallow candy was founded but some history documents have stated that Ancient Egyptians are the ones who invented marshmallow. This article is not about the candy but about the plant. Marshmallow root, which was once used as the main ingredient of the marshmallow candy has surprisingly a lot of health benefits for human.
What is Marshmallow Root?
Chances are, it is much different than the picture inside your head. The actual marshmallow root is a perennial plant that is mostly found in swampy, wet areas located in Europe, North America, and Western Asia. The term ‘marsh’ is actually derived from how the mallow plant grows in the marshes. Hence the name, marshmallow.
The marshmallow root looks like a brownish husk of fiber that is usually cut up in small pieces before use. It may not look as pretty as its sugary counterpart, but it is much more powerful.
Marshmallow has been known for centuries as a soothing herb that effectively treats coughs, bronchitis, sore eyes, gonorrhea, mastitis, and many other issues including both constipation and diarrhea. It contains a large amount of mucilage, a substance that becomes gelatinous when exposed to liquid. Mucilage coats, lubricates, and soothes all bodily tissues that it encounters.
High in vitamins A, B and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, marshmallow is an excellent boost to health. Here are some more benefits and uses:
1. Cold, Cough, Sore Throat & Lungs Oh My!
Marshmallow candies were first made for children who had sore throats – the sweetness would induce the children to eat, and the herbal goodness would soothe the sore throat. Commercial marshmallows certainly don’t contain any herbal goodness these days, but here is a recipe for an original marshmallow candy.
One of the most common uses of marshmallow root is for the common cold. If you check the contents of any of your usual cough medication, chances are there is a small percentage of marshmallow root included. A pinch of marshmallow powder in a hot liquid helps eases the symptoms of a chest cold and cough.
It is one of the acclaimed homemade remedies for sore throat as well. Its mucilage soothes the irritation along the lining of the esophagus by coating it gently. This relieves the soreness and allows for the damage to repair itself. It also helps inhibit the growth of bacteria.
2. Skin Problems
Marshmallow root can subdue the negative effects of many skin conditions. Its anti-inflammatory properties lead to the formation of a protective layer over the damaged skin, leading to a comforting feeling. Due to these properties research says that applying it topically might also help with eczema, dermatitis and sun damage.
3. Mama's Milk
Marshmallow root is also considered an ingredient that helps increase the supply of breastmilk. It is found in many natural supplements that are used to boost breastfeeding. Marshmallow root is also often used in creams that are applied over dry and cracked nipples to soften the skin. It also helps in easing the pain that is resulted from breastfeeding.
4. Healing of Wounds
As stated before, the marshmallow root has anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, a study has shown that marshmallow root may also help in promoting better healing of wounds. If applied on a cut or scrape, it can act as a substitute antibiotic and help in inhibiting the growth of harmful microbes and protecting the already vulnerable area from further damage.
5. Digestive Relief
This is one of the most important marshmallow root benefits. The secretion of the marshmallow root forms a protective layer on the lining of the gut and helps repair the membranes of the intestines. It might also act as a stimulant to promote regeneration of tissues to improve overall health.
Marshmallow root has also been said to prevent the formation of ulcers. The same compound that treats sore throat is also able to treat some digestive issues like heartburn, stomach ulcers, bloating and many more. Those kinds of discomfort you feel in your stomach are caused by acid and marshmallow root will sooth the feeling.
You could make tea from marshmallow root and for optimal result; you could mix it with other herbs that are also effective to sooth digestive issue like ginger or peppermint.
6. Cardiovascular Health
Inflammation is one of the root causes of heart disease, and since marshmallow root fights inflammation, it can improve heart health. Extracts from the marshmallow flower are shown to help in promoting the production of good cholesterol, which in turn benefits heart health in general. This could reduce the chances of experiencing strokes and heart attacks.
7. Urinary Problems
Marshmallow root is a natural diuretic. This means that it flushes out excess fluid and harmful toxins from the kidneys. It aids in repairing the damaged lining of the urinary tract. It keeps your bladder clean and reduces the chances of getting any urinary tract infections, which are especially common in women.
The mucilage in marshmallow root may benefit your hair. It binds with hair proteins and makes the strands appear thicker. You could use marshmallow root as natural hair conditioner to whatever the problem you have with your hair because it could treat dry, brittle and even limp hair.
9. Improves Body Metabolism
To make sure your body metabolism is in its best performance, you first have to make sure that your digestion is in excellent performance as well. Marshmallow root could help in improving the function of digestion and as the final result your body metabolism is also improved because all nutrients are absorbed optimally, all cells are oxygenated completely and other organs are working excellently.
10. Widely Used as a Cosmetic Ingredient
In modern world, marshmallow root is also used as one of the main ingredients to make cosmetics due to its antioxidant properties that could act as excellent anti-aging. It could be your alternative choice of cosmetic in the future since you now know how excellent the benefit of marshmallow root for your skin is.
11. May Help with Leaky Gut
Given its high mucilage content, it reduces inflammation of the stomach lining and even heals stomach ulcers. It creates a protective lining in the digestive tract, thereby treating leaky gut syndrome. Marshmallow root also helps individuals suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
12. Might Help Combat Lung Cancer
The antioxidants in the root might help prevent cancerous tumor growth, especially in the lungs. The high amounts of vitamin C in the root clear mucus anywhere in the body, with more concentrated effects on the mucus in the lungs. The vitamin C in the root can boost immunity too, and this may also help with cancer treatment.
As several reports suggest, marshmallow root works wonders for the lungs. And hence, this might be a supplementary remedy for cancer. However, we recommend you speak to your doctor before starting any new treatment regimen.
If you are considering switching from the sweet to the nutritious, it is important to know that it tastes nothing like the dessert you are used to. Marshmallow root, usually consumed in the form of an extract, ranges from being tasteless to slightly bitter. So try out some recipes to make it more appealing
Some other interesting facts about marshmallow root : this root could be used as teether for babies or infants as a natural compound in the marshmallow root will help in soothing the irritation. While, in the Middle East, the marshmallow root is used for cleaning Persian Rugs because according to them, this root is great to preserve the natural color of the rugs.
Hope you enjoyed reading about marshmallow root! Do share if you found this useful!
~Stay Blessed, Stay Simple, Stay Healthy!